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Old 06-20-2019, 12:35 PM   #1
osdecar
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Starter motor randomly does not crank [new starter motor and battery]

Hi all,

Sorry if this post should not be in the general section, but I was not sure exactly what is the best section for general mechanical enquiries.

As I said in the title, I have recently changed the battery and the starter motor (was dying and did not crank 50% of the time).

As far as I'm aware, the starter motor not cranking is quite common in old e46, so nothing really strange. Tap the motor with a long rod, free the solenoid, it'll crank, and happy days.

The problem is, after changing the starter motor, I've been driving the car for 2 weeks without problems, and now suddenly is having the same issue again. The motor is new, and so is the battery.

My first guess is the connections might not be properly tightened, but in your opinion, what else can be causing the issue?



P.D: I use to have a first generation 1 series with similar symptons, in this case it was caused by a faulty earth connection to the battery. It was a known issue and was solved after a recall by BMW. Can this be an issue in the E46?


Thank you guys

Last edited by osdecar; 06-20-2019 at 12:35 PM.
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Old 06-20-2019, 12:52 PM   #2
Sapote
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Originally Posted by osdecar View Post
My first guess is the connections might not be properly tightened, but in your opinion, what else can be causing the issue?
On your question about what if bad battery ground, use a voltmeter to check the battery voltage directly between the two posts. If it's above around 14v with engine idling then the connection is good.

On the starter: check the smaller connector on the solenoid if they have 12v with key turned to starter.
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Old 06-20-2019, 12:57 PM   #3
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If you haven't checked your connections yet, I'd start there. Start with the ground/black cable from battery to body--there are major grounds off the engine. The connection under the +terminal under the hood...oh, and sometimes people tighten the clamp on the battery and it's too large for the battery posts...so pull up on clamp to make sure it's solid.

Also, check the bst on the red cable--I've read of them going loose and guys just tighten it up and are good to go.

Next you might get down and double-triple check your starter work (nothing personal)...and in the end, sorry to say, sometimes new parts fail.

Have you read codes to see if something might be triggering these no starts--not many sensors that fail intermittently, but you never know.
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Old 06-20-2019, 01:19 PM   #4
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I too would be checking all connections. Is it a manual?
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Old 06-21-2019, 07:54 AM   #5
markusmarkus
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A no start condition can be caused by many things:
- check your work to make sure the electrical connections at the battery and the starter are tight
- check the engine ground strap located at the bottom front of the engine on the exhaust side of the engine
- try a second key
- check the jumper post located under the red plastic cover under the hood as this is where the main power cable from the battery connects with the cable going to the starter
- check the condition of the ignition switch’s contacts.

Note that the switch’s contacts are on the left side of the steering column. Use a relay contact file or similar to clean the contacts AFTER YOU DISCONNECT THE BATTERY!
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Old 06-21-2019, 08:10 AM   #6
RRRM8E
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Connections need to be clean and tight.
There are also lock-outs to prevent starting in gear to consider.
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Old 06-21-2019, 01:34 PM   #7
Alex323Ci
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so does your starter engage with a jump start?
does it engage when you tap it with a long rod again?

your battery actually dead (confirmed) or just starter won’t engage?

is this a quality “rebuilt” starter or quality brand new starter?

if answers to first questions lean toward starter then sounds like (solenoid part of) starter faulty.

but checking all connections as listed a good thing to do if not. the sneaky one is like dmax said on the battery post. after changing batteries sometimes the clamp may have the nut tight but pulls up easily. the battery cable’s clamp wedge needs to be adjusted in those cases.
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Old 06-22-2019, 11:39 AM   #8
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The physical switch in the steering column can do this, too.

Easy to diagnose with a meter when it happens.

But you do need to get a test wire safely in there, so you can see what happens
WHEN it's not cranking.

And the Chinese starters are of highly variable quality...

t
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Old 06-24-2019, 12:56 PM   #9
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It could also be a flaky key
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